Americans have been fascinated with superheroes for decades simply because they appear to bring hope, justice and comfort. They are historically overcomers. They are the ones who can whisk into a situation that is out of control and win! We all love winners.
So, what is the correlation between superheroes and organizational development? As we study the best of the best organizationally, it is clear that there is a special nuance which cutting edge organizations have. You may be familiar with terms like brand identity, marketing advantage, absolute advantage or competitive advantage. This is the “secret sauce” a company needs to be successful. So where does the “cultural superpowers theory” originate? It’s a simple but multifaceted concept.
Culture is defined in terms of philosophy, values, beliefs or principles. Most organizations have created strategic plans and mission statements to drive the organizational operations and decisions. These can be replicated; however organizational culture is so unique and cannot be recreated. Simply said, culture is defined as how organizations do things. In my opinion it is also inclusive of an unspoken social order that is understood by most, if not all, of the employees.
So, if we look at what is being done (secret sauce) and who’s doing the work distinctively (organizational talents) collectively, we create a cultural superpower concept.
CSP = Collective talents + Courageous Leadership + Clear values + Collaborative strategies.
In other words the Cultural Superpower is a collective, comprehensive, and inclusive phenomenon. Let me explain.
Collective Individual Talents -Honoring utilizing and honing the collective talents of the organization is key. Every organization has a superstar or two, but if we termed all our staff superstars? What if we give everyone a chance to shine their unique and essential light? Essential by definition means needed, necessary, crucial, or indispensible.
Courageous Leadership- Today more than ever we must lead must courageously, compassionately and confidently. Competence and integrity have always been part of the leadership traits most admired, but what if we added to those traits group transparency, authenticity and vulnerability? Whew, that takes guts! My belief is that we would see increases in generosity, innovation, creativity collaboration and reductions in payroll, recruiting and training costs.
Clear Company Values- While this seems very straight forward I have found that often times organizational values are developed, promulgated and even communicated with excellence, but not in congruence with organizational budgets and action plans. So the clarity comes with a price. The price of putting our money to work and initiating the strategic action plans which are created.
Collaborative Actions – We all know collaboration is “the” politically correct buzz word to include in our organizational strategic plans. Collaboration is defined as teamwork, alliance and cooperation. I challenge organizations to take it one step further and to consider being intentionally inclusive in their collaborations. We must look at who is missing from the table, not represented and not valued. I believe this is the secret sauce to Cultural Superpowers.
Isn’t time we become more Culturally Intelligent? Cultural Intelligence, CQ, is far deeper than cultural sensitivity or diversity awareness. It includes heightened motivation to learn about different cultural values and beliefs, and most often results in more effective strategies and behaviors for working in a variety of multicultural settings. Emotional Intelligence Assessments, (EQ), like Cultural Intelligence Assessments, measure a set of capabilities necessary for successful communication. Consider incorporating Cultural Intelligence into the organizational mission and values and operate with your uniquely created Cultural Superpowers to achieve greater success.
Elaine Robinson Beattie
Getting to the Point!